Heroes and prizes
Posted on November 30th, 2015

Editorial The Island

Minister John Amaratunga is reported to have told Parliament that some countries are planning to nominate President Maithripala Sirisena for the Nobel Peace Prize for forming a unity government. Minister Rajitha Senaratne once tried to have the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa nominated for the same prize following the defeat of terrorism and sought to place the latter on the same pedestal as Nelson Mandela. But, a little more than four years later, he joined ranks with those who condemned Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka’s Mugabe.

We are not in a position either to dispute Minister Amaratunga’s claim or to vouch for its veracity. Maybe he is privy to some information which we are unaware of. If so, he should share it with the public.

Some Sri Lankan leaders were falling over themselves to curry favour with the Norwegians as they were eyeing the Noble Peace Prize which was being dangled before them like a carrot to make them talk peace with the LTTE on Norway’s terms. Their ‘Nobel dream’ almost cost the country its territorial integrity and democracy. Even the entire Northern Province was offered to Prabhakaran without elections for ten years. Luckily, he turned it down. He was also allowed to run a de facto state on the pretext of negotiating peace.

The Nobel Peace Prize, in our opinion, lost its meaning the day it was denied to Mahatma Gandhi. The Nobel Committee regrets having overlooked him. It is believed that Norway did not want to sour its relations with Britain by awarding the coveted prize to Gandhi, who led India’s freedom struggle. Thus, it may be seen that the Nobel Peace Prize is not devoid of dirty politics.

Interestingly, President Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize even before he was ensconced in power having scored his first presidential election win. He has been doing more of what his hawkish predecessors did; the committee that recommended him has been left with egg on its face.

Never mind the Noble Prize! If anyone is to be given an award for forming a joint administration consisting of the two main parties in this country, it should go to Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera posthumously.

The so-called Jan. 08 revolution has many fathers today because it yielded the desired results; if it had failed it would have been an orphan with some of those who claim to be its chief architects groveling before Rajapaksa and securing Cabinet posts. It was the late activist monk who had the courage to come forward and mobilise the people to topple the Rajapaksa administration at a time nobody thought a change of government was possible.

Ven. Sobitha campaigned hard to dislodge a seemingly monolithic government and lesser minions are enjoying the fruits of his labour. We believe his heart condition worsened because at the time of his death he must have been at least 15 years older than his chronological age thanks to his activism and the attendant stress. Regrettably, the venerable monk died a sad man; he could not achieve his goal of having the executive presidency abolished and electoral reforms introduced.

Attempts are also being made in some quarters to draw an analogy between the ongoing moves to abolish the executive presidency and the act of King Sirisangabo donating his head. But, that pious king, according to historical sources, abdicated the throne and left his kingdom, empty-handed. He did not curtail some of his powers and try to continue his reign for a few more years, promising that monarchy would be done away with after his reign so that no one else would be able to ascend the throne. Sirisangabo never appointed anyone detested or rejected by the people to his council of ministers.

It behoves the ministers to stop singing hosannas to boost their leaders’ egos and critically evaluate the performance of their government if they want to avoid the fate that befell the Rajapaksa administration.


3 Responses to “Heroes and prizes”

  1. Raj Says:

    Sobhitha is now in hell suffering for what he did for Sri Lanka, I hear.

  2. Nanda Says:

    Please worry about where you go first before predicting where others went. Only Buddhas can find out where others go, but we all can easily see where we go.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    May he rest in peace!

    It is AGAINST SL values, decency and good conduct to talk bad of a dead Buddhist monk. Disgusting!

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